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u or you
o consonant, or ves W
red, or irzard. (483) 2. To these may be added certain combinations of letters sometimes used in printing; as ct, st 8, eh, sh, sk, RT, 65, si, ssi, fi, fk, fill, and &c. or and per se and, or rather et per se and ; c, si, si, si, sh, sb, sh, sk, , ss, si, ssi, h, j,
'3. Our letters, says Dr. Johnson, are commonly reckoned twenty-four, because anciently i and 1, as well as u and r, were expressed by the same character ; but as these letters, which had always different powers, have now different forms, our alphabet may be properly said to consist of twenty. hix letters.
4. la considering the sounds of these first principles of language, we find that some are so simple and unmixed, that there is nothing required but the opening of the mouth to make them understood, and to form different sounds. Whence they have the names of vowels, or voices or vocal sounds. On the contrary, we find that there are others, whose pronunciatiou depends on the par. ticular application and use of every part of the mouth, as the teeth, the lips, the tongue, the pa late, buc. which yet cannot make any one perfect sound but by their union with those vocal sounds. and these are called consonants, or letters sounding with other letters.
Definition og Vowels and Consonants. 6. Vowels are generally reckoned to be five in number; namely, a, e, i, o, "; y and u are called vowels when they end a syllable or word, and consonants when they begin one.
6. The definition of a vowel, as little liable to exception as any, seems to be the following: A
7. A consonant may be defined to be an interruption of the effusion of vocal sound, arisiag from
mouth, as is inconsistent with the nature of a pure vowel; for the first of these letters, is when sounded alone, or ending a syllable with the accent upon it, is a real diphthong, sompused of the sounds of a in father, and of e in the exactly correspondent to the sound of the Aoun aye; and when this letter commences a syllable, as in min-ion, pist-ion, &r.. the sound of ewicb which it termipates is squeezed into a consonant sound, like the double heard in queen, different from the simple sound of that letter in queen, and this squeczed sound in the commencing i makes
*How so uceurate a grammarian ng Dr. Lowth could pronounce so definitely on the nature of y and insist on Ita he ing always a vowel can only be accounted for by considering the small attention which is generally paid to this pas. of grinnar. ifis words are these
The same suurd lich we dipress by the initial y, cur Saxon ancestors in many instances expressed by the vowel
: as cordd, your and by the vowel i; as i, yeto; song, young. In the word yezo ilie iniual y has precisely the sanie noun' with in the words view, licu, odieu : the iis acknowledged in be a vowel in these ladier, bow then can they winiel, is the very same sound, possibly be a consonant in the former les initial sound is generally like that
in stre, or ee nearly ; it is formed by the opening of the mouth without any motion or contact of the parts: in Wotel, it bas every property of a vowel, and not one of a consonant." Introd. to Eag. Gram, page 3.
Thus far the learned hishop: who bas too fixed a fane ta suffer any diminution by a mistake in so triding a pa. of literature is this. bi't it may be asked, ir y las every property of a voivel and not one of a consoránt, ws, when It beghisa
word, does is not aurait of the euphonic article ah lefore it! 1 An ig doranee of the real cenupsition of 14 and a want of knowing that it partook of the bature of a consonant, ons occasioned a great diversity and uncertainty
in prefixing the indehate article an before it. (nur ancestors jouge ing of its nature from its name, never suspected that it was not a pure vowel, and constantly pretised the article on Go fore nouns beginning with this letter: as an union, em wefred book. They were conñrmed in this opinioa by Anding the an always Adapted to die short was an umpire, an umbrello, without ever dreaming that the short patro wowel and essentially different from the long one. But the moterns, or resting
in the name of a letter, and cositing their els rater than tbeir eyes, lave frequently placed the a instead of ur before
the long , and we beve Preu a union, a wriversity, Tuseful book, from some of the most respectable
pens of the present age. Nor can we doubt a minorent of the propriety of this orthography, wou we retled that these words actually begin to the ear with and
salla he spelled younion, youniversity, youseful and cun therefore no more admk of an before them than year and - oth the Bee Keuaris on the word en in this Dictionary.
Consonants enumerated and distinguished into Clasans 18. The consonants an divisible into mutes, seini-vowels, and liquids. 19. The mutes are such as emit no sound without a vowel, as b, p, l, d, k, and c and g hard. 20. The semi-vowels are such as crit a sound without the concurrence of a vowel, as t, v, 8, , in g soft or j.
21. The liquids are such as low into, or unite easily with the mutes, as l, m, n, r. 22. But, besides these, there is another classification of the consonants, of great importance to a just idea of the nature of the letters, and that is, iuto such as are sharp or flat, and simple or aspirated.
23. The sharp consonants are, P, S, 1, 8, k, c hard. 24. The fat consonants are, b, v, d, z, g hard.
45. The simple consonants are those which have always the sound of une letter unmixed with others, as, b, P, l, r, k, ghard, and 6 soft, or j.
%6. The mixexi or aspirated consonanıs are those which have soinctimes a hiss or aspiration joined wkh them, which mingles with the letter, and alters its sound, as t in motion, din so!uier, s in mission, und : in ature.
27. There is another distinction of consonants arising either from the seat of their formation, or from those organs which are chiefly employed in forming them. The best distinction of this kind seems to be that which divides them into labials, dentals, gutturals, and uasals.
28. The labials are, b, p, f, w. The dentals are, l, d, 4, 2, and soft g or f. The gutturals are kg 7 & haril, and g hard. The nasals are, m, n, and ng.
29. These several properties of the consonants may be exhibited at one view in the following table bich may be called
An Analogical Table of the Consonants.
Sharp, P, pomp
dentoFlat, de dad
edge or j
nasal Sharp, s
liquid ? Lisping dentals
Sharp, eth, deuth
Flat, the, seythe
3 liquid r Denio-guttural or pasal ng, lang. 30 Vowels and consonants being thus defined and arranged, we are the better enabled to enter mpou an inquiry into their different powers, as they are differently combined with each other. But previous to this, that nothing may be wanting to form a just idea of the first principles of pronunciation, it may not be improper to show the organic formation of each letter,
Organic Formation of the Lellers. 31. 'Ihough I think every mechanical account of the organic formation of the letters rather curi. ous than useful, yet, that nothing which can be presented to the eye may be wanting to inform the ear, I shall in this follow those who have beer at the pains to trace every letter to its seat, and make us, as it were, touch the sounds we articulate.
Organic Formation of live Vowels. 32. It will be necessary to observe, that there are three long sounds of the letter a, which are formed by a greater or less expansion of the internal parts of the mouth.
33. The German a, heard in bull, wall, &c. is fornied by a strong and grave expression of the breath through the mouth, which is open nearly in a circular forin, while the tongue, contracting itself to the root, as to wake way for the sound, almost rests upon the under jaw.
3. The Italian a, heard in futher, closes the mouth a little more than the German v; and by raising the lower jaw, widening the tongue, and a tvancing it a little nearer to the lips, renders its sound less holow and deep.
35. The slender a, or that heard in lane, is formed in the mouth still higher than the last, and in pronouncing it, the lips, as if to give it a slender sound, dilate their aperture horizontally ; while The tongue, to assist this narrow emission of breath, widens itself to the cheeks, raises itself nearer the palate, and by these means a less hollow sound than either of the former is produced.
36. The e in e-qual is formed by dilating the tongue a little more, and advancing it nearer to the palate and the lips, which produces the slenderest vowel in the language; for the tongue is, in the formation of this letter, as close to the palate as possible, without touching it; as the moment the tongue touches the palate, the squeezed sound of ee in Uve and meet is formed, which, by its descrip. tion, must partake of the sound of the consonant y. 31. The i in i-dol is formed by uniting the
sound of the Italian a in father and the e in equal, and pronouncing them as closely together as possible. See Directions to foreigners at the beginning of This book, page 11.
se. The o in o-pen is formed by nearly the same position of the organs as the a in water; but the tongue is advanced a little more into the middle of the mouth, the lips are protruded, and forni a roud aperture like the form of the letter, and the voice is not so deep in the mouth as when a is formed, but advances to the middle or hollow of the mouth.
39. Tix K in w-nit is formed by uniting the squeezed sound ee to a simple vorvel sound, heard in tot and coo; the oo in these words is formed by protruding the lips a little more than in e, forming a